Most broadband service providers transmit data through fiber optic cables, but installing those cables often mean digging trenches, which could take some time. AT&T, however, has different ideas -- instead of using fiber optics, it is thinking of taking full advantage of radio signals in sending data.
Of course, this is what the major US wireless carrier’s Project AirGig is all about. First announced a year ago, the core concept of AirGig is to transmit data by way of antennas set up along power lines, not only in urban markets, but also in suburban and even rural regions across America.
According to the second biggest mobile operator in the country, its Project AirGig is capable of transmitting data to nearby buildings and structures at connection speeds of around 1 gigabit per second (gbps). For some context, that speed is easily more than a dozen times faster than the normal speeds typically experienced in most broadband services offered in the United States.
Ever since AT&T unveiled Project AirGig in 2016, the carrier is now about to begin conducting a couple of field tests. The first one is being done in a suburban setting in an unnamed country outside the US. As for the other one, the carrier is joining forces with Georgia Power in facilitating the trials in a rural setting.
As explained by Andre Fuetsch, the chief technical officer of AT&T and president of AT&T Labs, the goal of Project AirGig is to make superfast connectivity available to all customers, no matter where they are based, whether in a densely populated metropolitan area, a residential neighborhood, or even in a sleepy small town.
Data consumption is poised to grow even more as we approach the 2020s decade. Indeed, our reliance on our mobile devices has also made people consume data and digital media like never before, and this will only increase in the years to come. More than ever, the pressure is on Internet service providers to be able to meet the ever rising demand for fast data. Of course, traditional phone lines, cable TV lines, and even fiber optic lines will do much of the heavy lifting, but other new forms of technology, like what AT&T’s Project AirGig is currently exploring, will be of enormous assistance. Project AirGig could also play a significant role in realizing the promise of 5G. In order for the 5G era to materialize, carriers and Internet service providers need to lay a network infrastructure with a very deep foundation. AirGig could provide some added depth.
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